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Question 56

Q: I don’t fully understand the Trinity.

When Jesus was on the cross, He said, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” To me that shows a separation between God the Father and Jesus. If Jesus is God, who was He praying to?

Asked by: Roger

A: Well Roger, I want you to know that the best human minds have struggled to understand the Trinity.

And I can say confidently that there is no human being on planet Earth that fully understands the Trinity. So Roger, you’re in very good company.

Couple of things: Yes, there is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And when Jesus died on the cross and said, “My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?” there wasn’t an ontological break in the Trinity. What I mean to say is that there wasn’t some kind of break in the essence of the Trinity. But there was a break in fellowship between the Father and the Son. The moment that Jesus became sin for us, the Father removed His fellowship from Jesus. That much seems to be clear from the text.

What we need to grasp is the fact that when Jesus prayed, He prayed to the Father. Yes, Jesus was God, but God the Son prayed to God the Father.

Then you also have the deity of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. And because of the Trinity, God was able to have fellowship long before the worlds were created. God was fully satisfied with Himself and within Himself. And yet, at the same time as we think about the Trinity, we need to keep in mind that Jesus made it clear that the three persons are equal. I think that’s why He said in the baptismal formula, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Notice that the word “name” is singular. One God in three persons.

Roger, that’s the best I can do in two or three minutes. Keep thinking about it and remember: we worship all three, God in one.

Scripture references

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